Britain’s Foreign Office Apologizes for Pope ‘Benedict Condoms’ Jokes
April 25, 2010
(ChattahBox)—A British Foreign Office brainstorming session on the Pope’s upcoming visit to England, went awry after a tongue-in-cheek memo was leaked to the press. A memo entitled, “The ideal visit would see …,” contained suggestions, such as naming a line of condoms “Benedict” and establishing a “helpline for abused children” was circulated within the Foreign Office, with a note of warning that some of the ideas were “far-fetched.” A public apology was issued to the Pope, by Britain’s ambassador to the Vatican.
The Foreign Office released a statement, expressing regret for the jokes at Pope Benedict’s expense:
“The Foreign Office very much regrets this incident and is deeply sorry for the offense which it has caused,” the ministry said in a statement. “We strongly value the close and productive relationship between the U.K. government and the Holy See and look forward to deepening this further with the visit of Pope Benedict to the U.K.”
Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi acknowledged receipt of an apology. “They supplied all the explanations, and there is nothing to add,” he said.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “This is clearly a foolish document that does not in any way reflect UK Government or Foreign Office policy or views. Many of the ideas in the document are clearly ill-judged, naive and disrespectful….”
Some of the “far-fetched” suggestions in the memo leaked to the Sunday Telegraph:
“The proposals, which were then circulated among key officials in Downing Street and Whitehall, also include the Pope opening an abortion ward; spending the night in a council flat in Bradford; doing forward rolls with children to promote healthy living; and even performing a duet with the Queen. In reference to the hugely sensitive issue of child abuse engulfing the Catholic Church, the Government document suggests that the Pope should take a “harder line on child abuse – announce sacking of dodgy bishops” and “launch helpline for abused children.”’ [...]
“Further suggestions on the “ideal visit” list are that the Pope should reverse the Church’s “policy on women bishops/ordain woman” and that the Vatican should “sponsor a network of Aids clinics.”
In an attachment headed “social,” additional brainstorming ideas, include “bless a civil partnership,” “all Catholic schools should be free, entry for all,” and a “debate on abortion.”
Another document ranks Scottish singer Susan Boyle, as more influential than Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster.
Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to make a papal visit to the UK in September.